Last evening the sky was littered with tumbling and blowing clouds, thwarting my aspirations for further astrophotography. So I did the next best thing, I stayed in, curled on the couch, reading an e-book about symmetry and group theory. Before bedtime, I got as far as starting to read about quantum mechanics and the beginnings of links to mathematical investigations of group theory. Among other luminaries, I read about Heisenberg and Dirac and for some reason I took particular note of their dates of death.

Heisenberg died in 1974, and Dirac in 1984. I suspect I noted these dates because they overlap with my own mortal span. I found myself wondering if I had heard the news stories of their passing, or had ever taken note of them during that brief time when our consciousnesses coincided. Even though I had just begun college with Dirac passed, I’m fairly certain that I did not consider him. Later passings, such as Phillip Morrison, Hans Bethe, Richard Feynman and John A. Wheeler were noteworthy and sad to me. It made me wonder who I was as a youth, that I should have missed a moment of grief for Heisenberg and Dirac. I certainly knew some physics by the time Dirac died. I was probably, as is typical of youth, busy being self-centered.

And then, last night, I dreamed of Carl Sagan. I do that occasionally. He and the band Rush seem to be the only celebrities who make somewhat regular guest appearances in my dreams.

In this instance, Carl was alive – until the day before. News broke that he had been ill for 15 years and living incognito with his family while constantly battling a necrotizing illness(!!); finally succumbing the day before. In my dream, I was very sad that he had died *again*, and doubly sad that he had not published during the intervening years. I’m sure my dream was instigated by the reading and consequent thinking the evening before, but that did not lessen the dreamtime sadness. Echos of the sadness persist into this morning, along with thoughts that I myself should do more writing.